Firefighters honored for lifesaving efforts

Stansfield:?River rescue successful due to ‘quick professional actions’

— Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Bill Shea Webster City Mayor John Hawkins pins a Lifesaving Commendation Award to the dress uniform shirt of Fire Department Capt. Brandon Hayes Monday night. Fire Department Capt. Jeromy Estlund, in the background, also received the honor. The two firefighters were recognized for rescuing someone who was clinging to a tree branch in the Boone River on Aug. 29.

Within minutes of being alerted to a person in distress on the Boone River on a late August afternoon, Webster Ciy Fire Department captains Brandon Hayes and Jeromy Estlund were in a boat heading to a woman clinging to a branch in the water.

Soon, Hayes pulled her into the boat and Estlund was steering them to shore.

The victim was rescued nine minutes after firefighters were dispatched to the river on Aug. 29.

For their quick work that day, Hayes and Estlund were presented the Lifesaving Commendation Award Monday night by Fire Chief Chuck Stansfield and Mayor John Hawkins.

”Because of the quick professional actions of the department, and more specifically Capt. Hayes and Capt. Estlund, the victim was rescued,” Stansfield said.

Stansfield presented each man with a plaque and Hawkins pinned the Lifesaving Commendation Award on their dress uniform shirts.

The presentation was made during the City Council meeting. Firefighters in dress uniforms filled many of the seats in the meeting room, and two fire trucks were parked on Second Street near the Municipal Building.

At 2:10 p.m. on Aug. 29, emergency personnel were alerted to two people in distress on the rain-swollen Boone River. Firefighters responded to the City Park River Access. There, they met one of the victims, who had been able to get out of the water. That person told them about the woman still in the water. Hayes and Estlund launched their boat and headed downstream.

Stansfield went to a place on the river north of Ohio Street. There, he and Webster City Police Officer Sam Long were able to talk to the woman. She was clinging to a tree branch that extended over the water. She was about 15 feet from the riverbank.

”The victim was asking for help and stated she did not know how much longer she would be able to hang on,” Stansfield said Monday.

He said firefighters set up a ”secondary swift water rescue point” from which they could rescue the woman if she lost her grip on the branch.

”It was at this point that the Webster City rescue boat arrived,” Stansfield said. ”With Capt. Jeromy Estlund manuevering the rescue boat under the branch, Capt. Hayes was able to grab the victim and bring her safely into the rescue boat.”

After she was brought to the riverbank, paramedics from Van Diest Medical Center examined her and found she had minor bruises and scratches. She did not go to the hospital.

Stansfield said Webster City firefighters train annually to perform river rescues.

”Each member that responded that day did an amazing job,” he said.

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